The Republican Party is constantly shouting about how much they care about the troops. They keep saying that they are the only people who truly support the troops. But what they don’t tell you is their definition of “support” and “the troops”.
Remember back when the first “surge” into Iraq started and things moved along so fast that the troops weren’t fully equipped or protected? Remember Rumsfield’s famous caveat: “We go to war with the army we have, not the army we wish we had…”? Of course we got rid of that guy and learned from our mistakes, right? Wrong – the same thing is happening right now, under the new “Rumsfield”. The new “surge” has moved along so fast that the troops once again aren’t fully equipped or protected. Is that your idea of supporting the troops? It’s not mine.
For those soldiers that don’t die from their wounds, they get to come home to one of the most famous hospitals in the world: Walter Reed. They get great care at Walter Reed – at least as long as they’re critical. But do you know what happens once the healing begins, but the trauma remains? The soldiers get shuffled off down the street. They get moved into some bureaucrat’s idea of half-way housing, where they wait for rehabilitation while the paperwork mill grinds away. Only the housing is not exactly what you’d expect from a country that has poured billions into private companies’ pockets.
They are, in fact, worse than you can imagine, even if you’ve seen public housing before. Holes in the walls, floors, and ceilings, utilities turned on and off (apparently at random), and mold everywhere. Multiple amputees thrown in with PTSD patients to watch over them because the staff is always short-handed. Frustrations mount as paperwork disappears and has to be filed over and over again for the simplest of requests. And if a soldier manages to maneuver through the web of bureaucracy and get discharged, he will usually discover that he has no medical benefits once he’s a civilian. Sorry Jack – you’re no good to us anymore and we’re not made of money, you know.
And don’t even THINK about appearing in public. If you’re photogenic and very appreciative of all we’ve done to you, this administration will parade you around like a prize bull. But tell that to Sgt. David Thomas, a multiple amputee that was discharged from Walter Reed with no clothes, no money, and no help. He found out that one of his old buddies was being granted citizenship in a fancy ceremony with the President and he wanted to attend. Unfortunately, he didn’t have “appropriate apparel” – fancy talk for saying all he owned was shorts and that would show his stumps. That was not something GW wanted shown on TV. Needless to say, he was NOT allowed to attend.
Oh, and by the way, GW has announced his plan to balance the budget. You remember, the budget that was in the black when he took office – the one he broke. It involves some very imaginative math, it doesn’t start until after he leaves office, and it requires the cutting of funds to Medicare, Medicaid, and Veteran’s Benefits. Yes, that’s right, Veterans. The ones they are already giving the short shaft to.
Right, they support the troops all right. They support them all the way to the grave, as long as they die fast, quietly, and out of sight.
I know I’m only a little bear, but surely things can be better.